If the Grand Unification theories, as well as M-Theory and even the basic Standard Model are correct, then it is a direct consequence that the Einstein-proposed (and which has since been confirmed) idea of space-time is true - i.e a 'fabric', encasing all matter, energy and time into a 4 (though, through M-theory research, possibly more..) dimensional plane, of which 3 dimensions are spatial, and the remaining is the vector of time.
Though there has been great progress in the attempts to unify the 3 of the 4 fundamental forces of nature (Electromagnetic, Weak Nuclear and Strong Nuclear forces) into this model, Gravity is proving a kneiving force to incorporate.
Einstein suggested that gravity is propagated via objects of large mass, attracting smaller and less massive objects towards them, as a result of the distortion of space-time in their vicinity. This has been proven, and it has even been shown that the space-time distortion can affect the trajectory of photons (despite being massless vector bosons). Additionally, Newtonian physics, or 'Classical Physics', describing the nature of momentum and the effects of a gravitational field on mass, still holds true with this conjecture.
However, this then raises the question of what exactly mass is.
One possible solution, and the most likely candidate, of this conundrum is by visualising 'empty' space as having a non-zero expectation value. This is what is referred to as the Higgs-Field. Thereby, every elementary particle that is coupled to this field is given mass (as energy and mass are more easily interchangable at the quantum level, a la E=MC^2), including the purpoted Higg's Boson. Under this idea, the Higgs Boson would be the mediator of mass, in a similar way that the photon is the mediator of the Electromagnetic force, and W / Z bosons mediate the Weak Nuclear force.
The advantage of this system is that the aquisition of this apparent 'non-zero vacuum expectation value' would spontaneously break the electroweak gauge symmetry (called the Higg's Mechanism).
The Higgs Mechanism, and indeed the inclusion of the Higgs boson, is widely seen as the simplest mechanism which effectively gives mass to gauge bosons, whilst simultaneously remaining true and compatible with current gauge theories, with no adjustment needed.
This basically means that, whilst other theories such as String Theory and the Technicolour Theory, can theoretically account for mass, they also require noticable alterations to current theories and systems that will not be readily accepted by the larger community any time soon.
Perhaps the most infamous instance of this is the fundamental requirement for the proof of String Theory - the Universe must consist of atleast 11 dimensions to congeal the associated mathematics. As beings living in a 3 dimensional world, we are mentally unable to picture what the extra 7 (or 8, depending on whether Time is given the status of a dimension) dimensions would look like. Despite String Theories' power to successfully predict unprecedented phenomena often more graciously than other existing systems, the requirement of an additional handful of dimensions is obviously a major hinderance in it's popularity and acceptance.
The theorisation of the Higgs Boson does not face such a strong opposition.
It is hypothesised that the Higgs Field consists of 2 neutral and 2 charged component fields.
Both of the charged fields, and one of the uncharged fields, are what are referred to as Goldstone bosons, meaning they spontaneoulsy and continuosly break down symmetrically (as mentioned above, this is what is called the Higgs Mechanism). Interactions between these fields lead to the massive W and Z bosons .
If the remaining neutral field is allowed to be comprised of the Higgs Boson, we would then be able to account for all the observable forces of nature, and linking particle mass to the other Fundamental Forces of Nature.
One forseeable difficulty in the advancement of the Higgs Model is the fact that the Higgs Boson would have zero spin (resulting in no measurable angular momentum) and charge. Also, it would be its own anti-particle..
This means that there may be no direct way to observe any Higgs Bosons created in any particle collision.
However, by indirect observation, physicists are able to monitor extremely small energy dissipations in the Large Hadron Collider. Combined with prior knowledge of the products of quark interactions and the anticipated energy/mass of the envisioned particle, they are able to discern if a Higgs Boson was in fact created in the Particle Collider, and spontaneously decayed into less-energetic flavours of bosons (W, Z or gluon ? ).
Such observations have been made at both the Large Hadron Collider, in Geneva Switzerland, and the TetraVon Collider in the US, however larger amounts of power are required to ensure a valid and reliable result is produced.
It is expected that the energy required for such observations will be less than 1.4TeV (Tetra Electron Volts), and with a major upgrade of the Swiss collider scheduled for 2014, we may just be edging ever-closer to the so-called Grand Unification of the Fundamental Forces.
If the Higgs Boson is found, will it have any immediate implications on everyday life? The short answer is no.
Although knowing that this particle exists would go a long way in verifying the very nature of matter itself, it would have no practical uses for the near future. Having said this, little over a century ago, Heinrich Hertz discovered radio waves for the first time, and promptly proclaimed that radio waves would have no practical uses, ever. The same was said upon the discovery of X-rays and microwaves. We now know they were dead wrong.
Perhaps the future of the Higgs Boson will have a similar path - discovery, followed by doubt, followed by a technological revolution, beyond imagination.
One implication i can concieve of the Higgs discovery relates to the observed interaction between the Higgs field and the curvature of space-time.
Assuming that the Higgs Mechanism is correct, and complies with the laws of gravity and relativity, it could be said that an unseen component of the overall Higgs field is able to distort, though not specifically interact, with matter and the other-wise components of space-time fabric.
If we imagine the fabric of spacetime as a rubber sheet (similar to a trampoline), placing a heavy object in the centre of this sheet distorts the field, similar to the way mass distorts gravity. Any object of lesser mass placed in the vicinity of this larger object will be pulled towards it (this is why planets orbit stars - the much more colossal star in the centre distorts gravity to an extent that all objects and planets near the star will be unable to escape the gravitational pull exerted by the star. Centripedal force puts the planet in its circular path).
In the Higgs Mechanism, the Higgs boson is the particle which allows matter to hold mass, and hence distort space-time, producing gravity in this way.
So the existance of the Higgs Boson directly correlates to the ability to distort space-time itself (correct me if this seems like an illogical assumption ? ).
If i am right in this conjecture, it may be theoretically possible to produce Higgs Bosons on a much more massive scale, leading to the possibility of Hyper-dense Higgs-Condensates (basically a very high concentration of Higgs particles, imparted from regular matter).
This may allow space-time to be manipulated on a much smaller scale than which occurs in the direct vicinity of super-dense blackholes and massive stars (which is a huge advantage for us!)
By being able to manipulate space-time in a more regulated, controlled method, we may be able to play with time itself (as time is merely considered an extra dimension in the space-time fabric, and not just an innocuous and intangible 'idea', as is the general concensus).
Time would no longer be considered a one-way street, we would be able to navigate (perhaps to some limited extent though) through time, in the same way that we move in the 3 spatial dimensions every time we move. It would be fundamentally similar to 'giving' the ability of being able to navigate in 3 dimensions to a civilisation of 2-dimensional beings. Just as they would find it impossible to imagine traversing in 3 spatial directions, we currently find it difficult to imagine the ability to be able to readily traverse the 4th dimension (time) as we see fit.
On a subatomic scale, however, 'time travel' occurs all the time, with ultra-light and uncharged neutrinos able to travel at close to the speed of light, and hence being able to stretch space-time in accordance with Einsteins General Theory of Relativity. These particles 'experience' much, much less periods of time than what is observed from an external observer in a separate frame of reference. Thus, on a subatomic scale, space-time distortion occurs readily all around us. Why don't we tend to see this occuring every day? Well, the sheer miniscule size of these particles, as well as the gargantuant speeds at which they travel, unfortunately we will not see this phenomena occuring without the aid of high-powered particle accelerators.
With the (hopeful) production of Higgs condensates, we may be able to skew the velocity-to-mass relationship, so that a significant increase in mass would not necessarily correspond to a lower limit of velocity. This would result in much smaller (smaller on a cosmic scale that is. In this context, i mean humans) sized objects, to hold a vastly larger mass, and retain the ability to travel at speeds approaching the speed of light (this is a huge requirement of space-time distortion).
Another possible application of Higgs condensates could be the production of Hyper-velocitiy vehicular travel. ie. the ability to travel at speeds faster than the speed of light, the currently accepted 'upper limit to velocity exhibited by any matter or energy'. By condensing pure 'mass', it would be theoretically possible to produce densities many magnitudes greater than that present in Neutron stars, or even super-massive black holes. Also, the lack of matter which would be usually coupled with the Higgs, would allow for compactification far beyong what is possible in the observable cosmos.
By effectively being able to concentrate mass into an extremely small space, and retaining sub-atomic superspeeds, i expect that the realtionship between mass and velocity would change somewhat, allowing for a much higher upper limit for velocity.
Imagine going to your local outlet, and purchasing a Higgs Condensate Drive for your space craft, and taking a day-trip to the Crab Nebula. Or taking a quick detour around Alpha Centauri on your way to a neighbouring galaxy.
While these ideas may be very distant in the future for us, the concept of intergalactic travel would not seem like such an impossible idea under my proposals.
Whether or not the Higgs Boson exists, is a matter of fierce debate, but its' anticipated discovery will be heralded as perhaps the greatest achievement of the human mind.
My concept of Hyper-dense Higgs condensates may well be considered something as general knowledge in 20 years time, or it may be dismissed as nonesense.
But it's definitely something to think about.